Indonesian Officials Are Being Ordered To Gorge On Street Food As Government Clamps Down On ‘Excessive Consumption’ By Bureaucrats

In an attempt to curtail frivolous and exorbitant expenses raked up by its officials, the local Indonesian government has ordered them to start eating food served-up by street vendors.

Governments across the world have regularly faced the issue of excessive expenditure on its own officials. Indonesia is one such country whose government has drawn repeated flak for allowing its employees to spend lavishly. Now, in a bid to limit and eventually end the “excessive” consumption by bureaucrats, the Indonesian government has ordered officials to eat local street food at meetings. Moreover, these employees are no longer permitted to hold large parties or gatherings.

Yuddy Chrisnandi, a minister specially appointed for bureaucratic reform within the Indonesian administration, confirmed that snacks such as cassava, steamed corn, and yam cakes should be served at official gatherings. As for the gatherings themselves, the number of guests invited to high-ranking bureaucrats’ parties should not be more than 400, reported the Economic Times.

Interestingly, apart from enforcing the austerity drive, Yuddy is also concerned about the deteriorating health of the officials due to their fixation to the food. Additionally, with his latest suggestions, he hopes to alleviate the struggles of the Indonesian farmers. In a plan that cumulatively addresses all his concerns, Yuddy said officials were at an elevated risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure through their current eating habits, and would be supporting Indonesian farmers through serving local food at formal meetings. Clearly, Yuddy believes Indonesian street food is much healthier than the food the bureaucrats are presently consuming.

In order to ensure the austerity drive is successful, any ministry found violating the rules on food could face sanctions, including demotion or a delay of bonus payments. The rules come in to effect today, as President Joko Widodo has prioritized cutting official spending. Having spent just about a month in the office, President Widodo has already reduced travel and meeting budgets for the coming year. A man who believes in leading by example, President Widodo flew economy class to Singapore on the country’s national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, for his son’s graduation last week, reported the Japan Times.

Interestingly, there a couple of issues that Yuddy believes would be solved once the rules start taking effect. According to him, the lavish parties that the politicians and bureaucrats hold, mostly to celebrate weddings, not only create a sense of inequality, but they cause huge traffic snares outside the venues. In the bid to kickstart the austerity drive, the energy ministry has already sent out a list of permitted foods to its staff and has ordered drinks to be limited to coffee, tea, and water. Apparently, it looks like there won’t be any alcoholic stimulants henceforth at such parties.

[Image Credit | Thomas Cockrem / Alamy]